Ok peeps. I have some things to say. They are all tumbling through my head and may come out disjointed, but whatever – hopefully they’ll lead to some kind of conclusion worth sharing.
Oh, before I start – a tip! My nutritionist recommended journaling to help me manage all the swirling s#i% in my head, and it’s been super helpful. It keeps me from writing it here, then trying to make the posts less angry/biased, then editing them to toothless nothing, then banishing them to the purgatory of “draft” status. I highly recommend the online journaling thing. I’m using Penzu, FWIW.
Anyway, back to the cascade of thoughts that I want to share with you. I am feeling a little fired up, for a variety of reasons. I will spare you the political reasons, and instead focus on the personal.
First, I just got back from doing kind of a cool thing – I ran a “fast mile”. This was part of a weekly training challenge that my running group puts on. It’s called “Pack Week” – our group is called Pack Training – and no, it has nothing to do with backpacks. It’s a running group.
Side note – “run” is a relative term in my world. Most of what I do is intervals – run/walk, run/walk, etc. But despite the fact that I’m slow and don’t do the long distances of my fellow Pack members, I have joined the team for 3 “seasons” now, and have come to value the structure of the group, and of course, the super nice people – even if they are all obsessed with long mileage in a way that makes ZERO sense to me. 🙂
The “fast mile” was day two of Pack Week – and our challenge was to, simply, run our fastest mile. For those who regularly run many miles at a fast pace this challenge may seem “fun.” After all – running a mile isn’t that hard for those people; they usually run a bunch of them at their speedy pace, and spend their time thinking (I assume) about form and cadence and whatnot. For runners like me, who struggle to finish a mile in 13:30, and spend that time thinking about a) just breathing and b) trying not to die, a fast mile is more challenging. The recommended “warmup” of 1.5 miles is hard enough – and then, to run “fast” after that? Yikes.
I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, but I was really looking forward to this challenge for some unfathomable reason. Even in the rain. So, I headed out. I did my best to warm up as instructed without tiring myself out, and I have to admit, my legs felt pretty good. Then, I started my “fast” run.
I ran straight through for a quarter mile, which is unusual for me. I was on a 12 minute mile pace. That’s much faster than I normally do, so that became my goal. Turns out I couldn’t quite sustain it, so I had to take a walk break occasionally, and then I had to race myself at the end – I might have yelled “come on!” as I sprinted through the last five seconds and .01 – but by gosh, I finished at EXACTLY 12 minutes.
That’s likely one of the slower times in the Pack.
But here’s the thing – I really don’t give a damn about that. I mean, I’ll use it to poke fun at myself, but the bottom line is that I’m proud of myself for running a whole two minutes faster than I normally do. It was HARD, it sucked mightily in the moment, and yes, I gasped for air like a landed fish when it was over. But I was out there, in the rain, getting it done…and the only goal I needed to worry about was my own. Running a 7 minute mile is beyond my capability, but running a 12 minute mile isn’t. So…that’s what I did.
Two nights ago, I was chatting with my dad, and mentioned that I plan to, someday, hike into and out of the Grand Canyon. My dad looked at me like I was crazy. “Nah,” he said skeptically. “You’re not going to do that.”
I’m not sure if he meant “You aren’t capable of doing that” or “I’d rather you not do that”, but regardless…it was clear he doubted me. Either that or the idea of someone actually wanting to hike a mile down into a canyon, and then back out, seemed a little nutso. On that point, he’s not entirely wrong.
But in all seriousness, 10 years ago, such doubt would have crushed me. It’s a testament to how far I’ve come that I took it as a challenge, and tried to explain to him that yes, indeed, I can do that, and that I most definitely will, someday. Perhaps not tomorrow, and certainly not before training, but I will. It’s a goal that is entirely within my reach…and I might not have believed that 10 years ago, either. But now I do.
My dad remained skeptical, but eventually said “well, make sure you tell me when you go so I can take out some life insurance on you.”
Other people have written, better than I can, about overcoming challenges, and about how our greatest enemy is often ourselves. You might be tempted to cast my dad as a bad guy in the story I just told, but I don’t see it that way. He has an opinion, and I happen to know it’s not a correct one (Sorry, Dad!). 🙂 So there’s no reason to let it bother me. Our greatest enemy may be our own reaction to someone doubting us – how do we respond when they express skepticism?
I can’t help think that a simple answer may be the most appropriate.
We can all be forgiven if we feel a little lost these days. Everything is…well…choose your adjective…messed up. Nothing feels right. Forward motion has stopped; all we have is the next day, or maybe the next week, and while we know exactly what those days will look like (hint – the same as the ones before them), we also seem to not know anything at all about what’s coming.
This is an odd, odd place to be, and it’s not much fun.
It makes me think of my turtle necklace. And a certain treasured bracelet. And a purple earring. No really. Stick with me here, this will make sense shortly.
The purple earring was one of a pair that my mom gave me, a long time ago. They were not my favorites, but I loved those earrings because I knew she did.
The bracelet was one my dad gave me, also a long time ago. It’s silver and gold, and throughout my entire professional career, whenever I got “dressed up” for an event, I would wear that bracelet. It’s so simple that no one probably noticed it, but I did.
The turtle necklace was a gift to myself, purchased on my 40th birthday trip to Hawaii with a dear friend. I love sea turtles, and we saw so many of them on that trip. That necklace, to me, marked the beginning of a decade when I began to care less what the world thought of me (the ‘fewer-f#%ks-at-forty’ phenomenon), and I treasured it for the memory of that trip, too. And for the fact that I could wear it while hiking and it wouldn’t turn my neck green. 🙂
All three of these things were lost over the past two years.
The earring and the bracelet vanished somewhere between my move from Boston to Virginia Beach. When one day, in a fit of organizing, I went through my jewelry case and noticed they were gone, I was truly puzzled. How could they have gone missing? ONE earring? And a bracelet I cared about? I felt more than a little sad.
The necklace vanished on a particular morning in Canmore, Alberta, during the final day of an incredible trip to the Canadian Rockies with my friend Shawn in August 2019. I took it off before a river rafting trip, and a week or so later, while unpacking, realized it was gone.
I won’t lie; I was a little upset at the loss of the necklace. I tore my gear apart, turned out the pockets of coats…I even facebook messaged the rafting company and asked them to check if it had been turned in.
The loss of the necklace got to me. I’m not sure why. I started to wonder if losing it was a sign…a sign that I’d been holding on to the recent past too tightly, that I needed to let go and find a new symbol for…whatever it was I was searching for. I told myself I was being foolish and maudlin, but I missed it. My nephew had liked to play with it on the rare moments he sat still on my lap.
About three months after that fateful moment at the rafting shop, I was visiting Salt Lake City, having dinner with, of all people, Shawn-from-the-Canada-trip. Along with another friend, we were noshing on Korean barbecue, and when it was time to pay, I reached into the chest pocket of my maroon puffy coat, where I’d stashed my credit card on a hike earlier that day. I pulled out the card, a receipt or two…and my turtle necklace, tangled amid the paper.
I actually gasped, and tried to explain to my puzzled friends why the world’s biggest grin had just split my face. The maroon puffy coat had indeed come with us to the rafting shop, and I must have stashed the necklace there when we changed into our gear. I had turned that coat inside out more than once, but somehow, the necklace had stayed hidden until that very moment.
Fast forward to last month, and I was forced by a busted AC to buy a new car, and to find the keys to my old one for the trade in. This meant digging into a small basket of junk that I’d been keeping on the shelf of my TV stand. I reflected, while digging, that I should clean out the basket, and a couple of days later, I did. And what did I find amid the chapstick and the hair elastics and the tic tacs? You guessed it – the missing purple earring AND my silver/gold bracelet. I will admit I did a little dance, there in my living room.
Why am I boring you with these rather mundane stories of lost items found? Well, because, the finding of them brought me a level of joy that seems out of proportion to the actual fact of them turning up. This is because, I think, these little items represent more than jewelry. They’ve come, through no fault of their own, to mean something to me – a memory of people who love me, and of an important moment in my life.
I lost them…and then somehow, the universe decided that I should find them.
Pre-pandemic, things were looking up around here. I was feeling good, losing weight, being healthier, and had a year of adventures to look forward to. I was starting to consider some bold steps to make things even better. I had my turtle necklace back, after all. 🙂 Then, the virus hit, and yeah…it’s derailed a lot of things, including my general mojo and ability to plan, well, anything.
In this isolated, insulated world that we currently inhabit, finding my earring and bracelet seemed like some other kind of sign. Of what, I’m not sure – maybe that some things aren’t lost forever. Sometimes, the universe will reveal them to us. Sometimes, we have to go back to a place we haven’t looked at in a while, and occasionally we might find something we treasure there.
It seems like this can apply to people, too, and I think that’s ultimately my message with this post. Who are the people in your life who are feeling lost? (Hint – it’s probably everyone). Have you gone looking for them recently? Or have you looked for the ones who hang out in the unexpected places, the ones who might need a little extra work to be found? The pandemic has been good for that, at least – many of us are in better touch than we were before. I hope that continues. Because it feels good to be found…especially when you’re not expecting it.
The other day someone asked me if I’d ever camped alone before. “Sure,” I said breezily, even thought it had really only been a couple of times. And the last time had been a pretty big bust. That same person asked if I ever was scared. I answered yes, but the reality is I was often more scared of being judged for being alone than I was of physical danger. Weird, I know, but that’s my psyche for you.
Anyway, by this point in 2020, I should have gone on at least one or two adventures– with other people! – but we all know what 2020 has done to best laid plans. These are strange times, the kind of times that, oddly, lend themselves quite nicely to a lone woman taking herself on a camping trip for a couple of days. The change of scenery was tantalizing, and after my last Shenandoah adventure, I couldn’t wait to go back.
So, I headed back up to the Park, this time without a canine wingman…er…wing-dog…er…you know. With no pooch to fret about, it was just me, my tent, and however many miles my flatlander legs could manage.
The adventure began with a smooth and zippy drive in my new car and its blissfully functional air conditioning. Having bought my last car in 2009, even a 2017 model feels like piloting a spaceship to me…the touch screens, the back up cameras, the USB ports that work…it’s all magical. I won’t say the hours flew, but they at least had good tunes and a comfy seat and no dashboard indicator lights to shine tauntingly in my face.
Checking in to the campground, when asked how many were there for my reservation, I caught myself before I said “oh, just one.” Instead, a simple “one” was all they needed to know. This is a small thing, but getting rid of that “just” is a powerful thing for single gals. I urge you to try it.
One thing I adore about traveling is the period of time just after arrival, when I get to nest. If I’m at a hotel, that means unpacking my suitcase and putting my toothbrush in the bathroom. At a campsite, it means setting up tent and hammock and getting to know your food canister (it’s bear country, after all). After seeing that it was all just so, I jumped back in the car and headed for a popular little trail to Dark Hollow Falls.
See, on my last trip, I’d hiked the Rose River Loop – backwards, as I’m often want to do, and found myself, after the first mile of that hike, at the base of the Dark Hollow Falls trail. But, pets weren’t allowed up there, so I had to skip it. This time, sans Sadie, I started with the masses at the top of the trail.
Unfortunately, the popularity of this trail meant I spent most of the time dodging other people, a mild annoyance in normal times, and more so during a pandemic. The payoff, the big pretty falls, were so filled with people swimming that I barely got a look at it before I felt the need to escape. But I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t far from the base of the trail, so I left the hordes to their shrieking and kept going down. Sure enough, I wound up at a familiar sight, all alone.
Despite the giant sign warning of the danger of climbing on the rocks, I found a perch at the base of the falls and sat for a few blissful, quiet moments, feeling smug that I was wearing my Keens and could soak my feet in the cold fresh water. Up above, I could see a few teenagers cavorting, but the sounds were drowned out by the falls. And I guess all I have to say about this is that a waterfall is wonderful therapy for a tired and stressed-out soul that’s been living in a pandemic for 5 months.
In what turned out to be a genius move, I decided not to hike back up Dark Hollow Falls Trail, and took the Rose River Trail back to the main road. It added about 2 miles to the trip, but it kept me away from people and gave me a gradual uphill to get back to my car, rather than a steep one. I saw a bunny on the trail, along with a bunch of butterflies and some lovely westerly views.
Back home at the campsite, I enjoyed my hammock for a bit, then came to the most exciting part of my evening – trying out my new camp stove for the first time. You see, every other time I have ever camped someone else has either made the campfire or cooked on their stove. I’d never done it myself.
I spread out the instructions carefully, with the knowledge that I didn’t want to blow myself or the campsite up if I could avoid it. I laid out the pieces, checked and rechecked my setup, and reached for the matches…oh crap…I’d forgotten the matches. Thus began a frantic search for a hidden stash I’d sworn I’d kept in my pack, but when that came up empty, I introduced myself to my neighbors at site 27, who kindly gave me matches and a strip for striking them. That little obstacle overcome, I lit the stove, boiled myself some water, and ate my chicken and rice with the greatest of satisfaction. It’s the little things, people.
That night was one of the few moments that I missed having someone with me; I’ve always enjoyed the little ballet of passing car keys back and forth while cleaning up after dinner, and quiet conversation around a campfire is one of my favorite things ever about camping out. I wasn’t exactly lonely, but sleep didn’t come easy that night…it never does when I’m in a new place.
But the next day dawned with promise, and that lovely feeling of waking up in the woods. Now a pro at my new stove, I made myself some tea and had breakfast, and was joined by a family of deer – a mom, dad and, I eventually noticed, a little spotted fawn who plonked down right on the edge of my campsite to nosh on the plants. Mama Deer had to come over and poke the baby with her nose to get it to move. How do I know it was a Mama Deer? Because I saw her squat to pee before rounding up her offspring. You didn’t know deer pee like girl dogs, did you? Well, now you do.
The plan for this day was a 13 mile hike into/out of a canyon, with a little ridge hike and a mountaintop thrown in for good measure. It’s an example of how I’ve changed that I saw a hike labeled “difficult” and didn’t flinch from it; in fact, I wanted to see how I would do against it.
The verdict? Mixed. Issue one – locating the proper starting point for this hike – all the descriptions are very blasé about the fact that the recommended trailhead is outside of Shenandoah National Park – and I got confused. Eventually I realized I could jump onto the trail from the Skyline Drive, but it meant I started later than I’d wanted to, and the heat was rising.
Leg one of this hike took me from the Hawksbill Gap parking lot down the Cedar Run Trail – a steep and rocky trek that sucked the life from my legs pretty quickly. I began to regret that I was carrying the weight of my camera – since all my attention was on climbing down safely there wasn’t a lot of desire to take pictures – and that I hadn’t brought my trekking poles. But, it was a gorgeous descent into the lush greenery of the canyon, following along next to waterfalls and little swimming holes. A much larger swimming hole and natural slide was at the bottom – this was the first time I wished I’d planned to bring a bathing suit as the water was cool and the kids were having a blast splashing around. Getting to flat ground was blissful after the descent, and a brief jaunt through a beautiful forest on soft, root-free terrain was a welcome break.
Then, I reached the junction of the White Oak Canyon Trail, and sat with my feet in the water while refueling. I had probably about 9-ish miles to go (my Garmin was having issues tracking so I’m not sure exactly), and I was pretty tired already, so I started to consider if I would take the shortcut out and not do the 13 miles. A decision for later, but doubt was setting it as the temperatures climbed.
The White Oak Canyon Trail is no joke; it’s steep. There are waterfalls, granted, but I have to admit I didn’t have a lot of energy to give them – although the lower falls had a swimming hole that made me wish I had friends with me…it would have been a blast to go swimming in there. Pretty quickly I realized that getting to the top of the trail was going to be a major challenge – my body, used to flat trails and sea level, didn’t appreciate the calf-burning uphill. There was a lot of stopping and more than a little swearing on my part. A few times I questioned if I’d even make it, but there was really no option to turn back – my car was several miles and several thousand feet of elevation away.
Anyway, eventually I did make it to the top of the falls, and faced the crossroad – continue on for about 5 more miles, for a bit of a trek on the AT and up to a mountaintop, or “bail” and take the fire road back to my car. By this point, there was really no choice – I and my wobbly legs took the fire road. It wasn’t steep but it was still uphill and I was plodding along, dreaming about a nice dinner, when suddenly I felt a few raindrops on my head.
There was no rain in the forecast when I’d checked earlier, so I figured it was just a sprinkle. Then, a few more drops, and I decided to, just in case, put the rain cover on my pack to protect my camera. That turned out to be a good choice, because a few moments later the heavens OPENED and a monsoon struck. I’m talking sheets and sheets of water, soaking me from head to toe, and turning the fire road into a muddy stream.
In my state of exhaustion, I found this all a bit of a lark, as it washed away the miles of sweat and cooled me off. There was no shelter to be had, so all I could do was keep walking and accept the soaking. I passed a pack of teenage boys on their way to a swimming hole; they whooped at me and I just laughed at them. Eventually the rain ended and I made it back to my starting point, where I stood dripping, unwilling to put my wet self into my new car, until I realized I had a towel in the trunk. Overpacking for the win!
Then it was back to the campsite, where the joys of traveling alone kicked in – I changed clothes and stretched blissfully out in my tent, feeding myself all the goldfish I wanted and drinking my Nuun, and dozing as my body did a little reboot. Then, I decided that 9 miles, 2300 feet of elevation (twice! down and up!), and hot/humid conditions meant I’d earned a dinner cooked by someone else. So I headed to the Big Meadows lodge, bought a pizza and a cider, and sat reading and eating while the sun went down over the mountains.
It was a cool, breezy night, and I sat alone among people, with noisy kids running about and conversation swirling all around me, and I felt completely content with my book and myself. What a delightful and rare feeling.
That night, I really, really wanted to stay up late enough to go stargazing, but my sleeping pad was way too comfy, and so I drifted to sleep as the campground quieted around me. I woke the next morning and listened to the birds chirp, then reluctantly packed up the campsite. It was time to go back to real life, with just my sore muscles to remind me of what I’d done the day before. And believe me, they did. This flatlander needs to climb some more stairs!
It was early evening in the mountains, and we’d stopped at a lookout to take in the view. I could hear water rushing somewhere below us, but I couldn’t see it. Oh well, I thought, this is Shenandoah, there will be plenty of waterfalls. As we stretched our legs walking the length of the lookout, a trail appeared to our left. Without much thought, Sadie and I took it. It headed downhill at an angle we NEVER see on our flat beach/wetland trails. Soon, cold water was pouring down the rocks, and I felt a little thrill as it flowed refreshingly into my my new Keens. I looked back at my dog, wondering if she would be intimidated by the slope and the water. She just panted at me, paws already wet and muddy, tongue lolling as if to say “why did you stop?”
Wow, I thought, as we splashed downhill, I’d forgotten this feeling. We were less than 100 yards from the road, and I was already grinning. A few feet later, we ran into another trail, and turned left, heading toward the rushing water sounds. Turns out there was indeed a waterfall:
A glance at a sign post soon revealed that this waterfall was on the Appalachian Trail, which runs right through Shenandoah National Park. You’re never very far from the AT when you drive along Skyline Drive, but I didn’t really figure that out until later when I looked at a map. In that moment, discovering that iconic trail felt like magic.
More than 8 months earlier, I didn’t know that a hike up to Elephant Rock, just outside of Salt Lake City, would be my last real hike. But the coronavirus has changed everything; it’s grounded all normal travel plans, and kept me on flat terrain even as my feet and soul have itched for mountains.
So, this little weekend away was full of re-learning, of discovering how to do things I’d forgotten how to do, like packing a backpack or climbing an actual hill. Had it really been more than 1/2 a year since I’d done that? Yep. Time has both crawled and flown by these last months.
How long had it been since I’d talked to someone at the front desk of a hotel/motel? Or since I’d slept in a bed that was not my own? Thanks to a Disney family trip in March, that memory was fresher, but we didn’t have masks back then.
Did I remember how to use my camera? Not really…my sunset photos from this trip are kind of a mess. But I got slowly more comfortable as the weekend progressed; I remembered what f stops and shutter speed meant. 🙂 .
But by far the best bit of remembering had nothing to do with the changes wrought by the virus.
Almost 10 years ago, I realized I wanted to travel more, and that I was hugely intimidated at the idea of doing it alone. I did it, because I wanted to prove that I could, but the first time, I really didn’t enjoy myself all that much. I was too self conscious, too in my head, too concerned with how other might see me in my aloneness and think me lacking somehow. The last time Sadie and I took a trip together, everything had felt wrong; I hadn’t been able to find it in myself to truly enjoy being out there with just my dog and me.
I have wonderful people in my life, and in those 10 years, I haven’t had to travel alone much, for which I’m profoundly grateful. But recently, while slowly becoming more comfortable in my own skin, I’d begun to wonder if I’d been spoiled by all the grand adventures I’d taken with friends and family. After all, those folks might not always be there to adventure with; had I lost the ability to have fun on my own? As a solo gal living in the age of a pandemic, I’d damn well better be able to make my own fun, right?
I didn’t realize it until it was over, but this Shenandoah weekend was a test to see if remembered how to adventure by myself. I am happy to report that I passed with flying colors.
Sadie and I tramped all over the park, and I never once worried that people were looking at me, wondering what was so wrong with me that I was out there on my own. We hiked scrambled down to waterfalls and up to the top of the highest peak in the park (up the easy trail – she is a senior dog, after all) without ever feeling self conscious. I was able to thoroughly soak up views like this:
Later that night, I sat cozy in my cabin, a breeze coming through the open door, the sun lighting up the trees outside, and wondered if I should pack up the dog and go back out to try to take pictures of the sunset. My attempts from the previous night’s sunset hadn’t turned out well. But I was happy and content to be exactly where I was, and so I snuggled under the blankets, Sadie snoring next to me, and let myself get lost in my Outlander re-read. I’d had a good day, and there was nothing more to need.
What a delightful place to find oneself, when the last months have left me feeling so needy for something, anything, to break up the days.
The next morning, we drove more than 60 miles down Skyline Drive at 35 mph, just to try to catch some views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I embraced my inner teenage boy by stopping to snicker and take a picture of the view from Naked Creek Overlook:
Bacon Hollow viewpoint offered the views I was hoping for, even if there was no bacon to be had:
By the time we reached the end of Skyline Drive, reality was beginning to creep back in. Hailstorms, pounding rain, and the never-ending traffic of I64 did the rest, and by the time I was back home, the trip felt like it had already been over for days.
But happily, this little blog exists to help me call back the memories, and I can still feel the residual effects of those hills and views and waterfalls in my legs and lungs; they haven’t gone away completely. I don’t know when I’ll get to go back, or who with, but it’s a good thing to remember what it feels like to be deep in the woods, or perched on a rock with a valley spread below you. Together or alone, there’s nothing quite like it.
PS: Some things I have not remembered how to do, apparently. Like taking selfies with my dog. What in the world was happening here?
Facebook memories are usually wonderful. I often surprise myself with how funny I was X years ago that one day, and I love looking back at trip photos that pop up. It’s also interesting to see the trends of life and how they change. For example, according to Facebook, I used to be a lot more obsessed with my camera.
4 years ago, I slipped on a rock on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, and dropped my camera into an ocean puddle. Along with my dignity, I broke the camera body, and waited with breath held for the new one to arrive. In those days, I had a serious thing for my Canon; being without it felt wrong.
These days, it’s rare that I pick it up, and I’ve been wondering why. Today I figured out part of it.
Each year, as a Christmas gift, I make a calendar of my favorite photos of the previous year. There are a few friends and family who have no choice but to receive it; some are even kind enough to put it up on display. Sometimes I forget what photo is next, like I did this month. But this month is a good one. One of my best, I think. Here it is:
As a side note, this photo proves that photos aren’t a reflection of reality. This looks peaceful, doesn’t it? It was anything but. This was taken on the Valley of the Five Lakes hike in Jasper National Park in Canada, August 2019. Shawn and I got a later start than we should have, and as a result, there were probably 3-4 other parties of people at this little dock/lake. Children were running about yelling, as they do, and grown ups were jostling for the selfie spot on a dock out of frame. But I saw this boat, and the marvelous light, and somehow folded myself into some tree roots to get this picture.
Isn’t it lovely? Look at the oars, at the 2nd boat hiding behind the main one, the crazy clear water, the shadows on the bow.
When I see this photo today, it feels like a lifetime ago. My camera did come out quite a few times since then: for my last elevation hikes, way back in October in Utah, for Christmas, for my nephew’s birthday. But never with that deep-seated need that I used to feel, that itch to have “my real camera” in my hands, in case I would turn a corner and see something that just needed to be photographed. Even though my iPhone often takes better pictures, there is something about the weight of the Canon that makes me feel close to being an artist.
Last week, for the first time in months, while out for a hike in the woods with my niece, I found I missed my camera. Perhaps it’s spring and the way it makes the trees glow neon, or perhaps it’s the joy I got watching my niece shed some of her timidity and gallop fearlessly along trails that I love.
So for this week’s family hike, I made sure I had my Canon with me. I fell back to my trusty 50mm prime lens because I can always trust it to deliver, especially when my skills are rusty. And I caught a couple of photos that made my heart swell in that old familiar way.
As I pulled them down from my camera, I found others, from my nephew’s February birthday, that also made me smile:
As I moved through these, editing and cropping, I realized what’s changed. In my photo-obsessed years, there were things I wanted to capture that weren’t an epic adventure, or a family gathering. There were local hikes, new corners of Boston or the beachfront to explore, a sense of marvel and wonder and looking forward that made heading out with my camera to photograph my favorite pond for the 20th time seem exciting. These were moments between epic and domestic.
These days, there’s not much going on in the between.
There are no epic adventures to be had, and there won’t be any time soon. Family gatherings are on hold, too. So, we exist in this place of sameness, where it seems like nothing changes, and where all forward motion has stopped.
Normally, at this point in a blog post, I’d turn to how I’m going to solve the problem or issue I’m arguing with myself about, but not today. See, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find ways to excite myself enough to take my camera along the next time I walk my dog through our complex, for what feels like the 1000th time this week. I’m not convinced there’s anything new to find in this little bubble of domesticity that we live in. But I do hope that the good, solid feel of my camera in my hands was the start of a new trend. Time will tell. And goodness knows we’ve got time on our hands these days.
Here are a few of the pictures I snapped on our family hike – a nice moment of the between. I am grateful to live where we can get outside in a responsible way and give these rugrats the chance to stretch their legs and play in the sand. And, it was nice to be able to capture some of it.